OXFORD, Ohio — Pete Rose said it’s an American tradition to give second chances, although he wouldn’t describe himself as optimistic about his application for reinstatement to Major League Baseball being approved.
"I don’t know if that’s the right word," Rose said Monday in a brief interview between appearances on the campus of Miami University in southwest Ohio. "I think he’s his own man, he’ll make up his own mind. I’m just happy he’s willing to review my status."
First-year commissioner Rob Manfred has said he plans to meet with baseball’s banned hit king by the end of the year.
"It’s his timetable. He’s the boss, my phone’s always on," Rose said. "If I get that meeting, I’ll look forward to it."
Interviewed by Miami student TV journalists, Rose said repeatedly that he made mistakes and that he hopes others will learn from them.
"I’ve been suspended a long time, but I made the mistake, and I’m paying the consequences," Rose added. "If I’m ever given a second chance, I’ll be the happiest guy in the world. I’m an American. This is America, you get a second chance. … I won’t need a third chance."
Rose’s college visit was to be capped by a discussion with Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty about ethics and sports as part of the school’s fall lecture series. Miami spokeswoman Claire Wagner said Rose was paid $30,000 including expenses.
Rose began the lecture discussion by telling students he had "screwed up." He said: "I’m not going to sit here in Oxford, Ohio, and whine about me being suspended."
Dubbed "Charlie Hustle" as a Reds rookie in 1963, Rose called himself a hard-working ambassador for the game he loves, which he noted he’s now been suspended from for a third of his life.
"I never underestimated how important the fans are," Rose said. "I never cheated the fans."
The Cincinnati native, now 74, had 4,256 career hits. He was banned in 1989 for betting on baseball.
Between his serious messages, Rose often had the packed house of mostly students roaring at his baseball anecdotes, jokes and one-liners such as saying the Miami football team covered the spread last Saturday and that he was the only person in the audience who would say his favorite position is "first base."